Moves & Posture for Driving
Clients frequently come to me complaining about neck and back pain. Quite often, they are guilty of driving for long periods of time for work or leisure. The good news is that strengthening the core, and in turn, the postural muscles, can help prevent and relieve those bothersome aches.
Take these moves for a spin at least three times a week, to help prepare your body for long stretches on the highway, or hours spent stuck in traffic. (Or even regular short drives, which add up!) Also, don’t miss the tips at the end of this article for proper alignment behind the wheel; just be aware that proper seated posture might feel uncomfortable at first, since your body has acclimated to those poor, pain-inducing habits.
Half Curl with Breath
Purpose: increases the strength and endurance of the upper abdominals; promotes awareness of neutral pelvis and keeping the shoulders away from the ears.
Setup: Lie on your back with your feet flat, and knees bent hip distance apart. Rest your arms by your sides, and come to a neutral pelvis.
- Inhale, drawing in your abdominals and lengthening the back of your neck.
- Exhale, peeling your head and shoulders off the mat, one vertebra at a time.
- Inhale to stay, or curl a bit higher; exhale, articulating down to the starting position. Do 4–6 reps.
Tip: If you experience any neck tension, interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your head. (This will also increase the abdominal challenge!)
Purpose: strengthens the muscles throughout the entire back of the body plus opens the front of the body.
Setup: Lie facedown, with your hip distance apart, arms forward and shoulder distance.
- Inhale, engaging your abdominals and pulling your scapulae closer together and toward your bottom rib. Hover head off floor.
- Exhale, lifting one arm and opposite leg of floor then lower, repeat on other arm and leg.
- To challenge the exercise keep both arms and legs off the floor and start to paddle arms and legs like you are swimming maintaining and stable torso.
Modification: Bend the elbows if there is any shoulder tension or just swim the legs on the floor and start to paddle arms and legs like you are swimming maintaining and stable torso.
Glutes on all fours
Purpose: strengthens the gluteal muscles plus hip extension stretches the hip flexors.
Setup: Get into a quadruped position, coming down onto your elbos with your shoulders over your elbows, and your knees under your hips.
- Inhale to prepare, engaging your core.
- Exhale, lift one leg off pressing the heel to the ceiling keeping hips and should in alignment.
- Inhale, lowering your leg, then repeat 8-10 one side then repeat on other leg.
Modifications: To increase intensity you can straighten and bend leg. Add pulses either with a long leg or with the knee bent or both.